Email Part 1: Is E-mail Marketing Still Relevant?

Some people say legislation is making e-mail marketing ineffective

CAN-SPAM legislation passed by the Federal Trade Commission in the US sets out strict rules for commercial e-mail marketing. Businesses found in violation of CAN-SPAM can be fined up to $16,000 per email.

In the UK, The Privacy and Electronic Communications (EC) Directive Regulations 2003 make it unlawful to send someone direct marketing, including emails, who has not granted permission (via an opt-in) unless there is a previous relationships between the parties. The Information Commissioner’s Office has responsibility for enforcement and considers complaints. A breach of an enforcement notice is a criminal offence subject to a fine of up to £500,000 depending on the circumstances.

But SPAM (unsolicited emails) was never a sustainable marketing strategy anyway.

The reality is that nobody likes receiving SPAM and, as a result, it gets ignored. Sending SPAM also affects you ability to get e-mails into people’s inboxes in the future – anti-SPAM services and software designed to protect people’s inboxes recognises your e-mail address as being a source of SPAM and blocks it or send the e-mail straight to “junk”.

Email is still one of the best digital marketing tools

Used in the right way, email is still one of the best performing digital marketing tools and can make a huge positive impact on your business. After all, people check their emails an average of 75 times each day! (Hubspot)

Return on investment is huge

The average return on investment of e-mail marketing is £38 for every £1 spent (DMA National Client Email Report 2015)

20% of companies achieve an ROI of £75 for every £1 spent on email marketing (TechCrunch)

You own the relationship

With digital marketing channels like social media, your contact list is built on someone else’s platform and if they shut down your account for some reason all of your work has gone to waste. When you capture contact details and build an e-mail marketing list, you own that list and you own the relationship.

Results are measurable

If you set things up right it’s easy to measure the results of an e-mail marketing campaign. Most e-mail marketing tools like Mailchimp, Campaign Monitor and Infusionsoft come with basic stats built in and integration with platforms like Google Analytics is relatively easy even for beginners.

It’s up to you to make sure your email marketing is relevant

Emails need to be mobile responsive

54% of all email is opened on mobile and 81% of smart phone users say e-mail is the most popular activity they use their phone for. It’s essential that your e-mail campaigns are designed to work well on mobile devices. This usually means:

  • Single column design (or columns the collapse neatly on mobile devices)
  • Images that are sized appropriately for mobile devices
  • Text that is large enough to be easily read
  • Short and to the point
  • Links and buttons are well spaced and large enough to be easy to tap on accurately
  • A clear call to action

Your e-mail list needs to be segmented

When asked to rate the statement “Most of the marketing emails I receive include no content or offers that are relevant to me” 62% agree or strongly agree. (Hubspot)

That’s where segmentation comes in. You need to understand who your customers are and what they’re interested in. A good place to start is by creating customer personas. A customer persona is a fictional representation of your ideal customer.

You can then divide your list of e-mails by persona, interest, their stage in your sales funnel, their previous interactions with your company or anything else that you consider helpful to determine whether they are going to be interested in receiving your e-mail.

Once you have picked a segment to target, consider what messaging resonates with that segment. What are their challenges, goals and pain points? Which offers that you send are going to generate more of these ideal customers?

To demonstrate the importance of segmentation, these stats from Mailchimp are well worth a read. For example, in the tests:

  • Segmented campaigns achieved 14.3% more opens that non-segmented campaigns.
  • Segmented campaigns achieved 63.03% more clicks than non-segmented campaigns.

Your emails needs to sound personal

Just because your e-mail was sent to 5,000 people it doesn’t have to sound like it was. Make your e-mail sound personal, use the customer’s name and use segmentation to target smaller groups of customers or leads with a more personal message.

Automation workflows can help here too. Automated messages (triggered by the user taking an action like visiting a particular web page or completing a free demo) average 70.5% higher on open rates and 152% higher on click-through rates than “business as usual” marketing messages. (Epson Email Institute).

Popular automation tools that also include full blown CRM are Infusionsoft and Hubspot. For those on a budget that don’t need all of the advanced features of Infusionsoft or Hubspot, options include Mailchimp and Campaign Monitor which have basic automation included.

This is the first in a three part series on e-mail marketing. Got a question? Ask below and I’ll do my best to answer it in a follow up post.

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